The Last Jedi has definitely left a bad taste in some Star Wars fans mouths. Some are obsessing over the fact, some have completely let it go, and others are still barely clinging on. Then you have the Rian Johnson haters who can't believe that Lucasfilm and Disney have handed over an entire new Star Wars trilogy to this man. Others, who believe he created a masterpiece in the official Star Wars canon, are excited, but also unsure. What is this thing going to be? And how is it going to be 'Star Wars' without any of the things we know Star Wars to be? That's currently Rian Johnson's biggest challenge in bringing this thing to life.
There will be no Skywalker name to hang a story on. There will be no Millennium Falcon, no X-Wings, or anything that is currently familiar to us as fans. There won't even be any cool characters like the evergreen Chewbacca, or droid pals C-3PO and R2-D2, the later of which have appeared in ever single Star Wars movie to date with the exception of Solo, and we're pretty sure they'll get a cameo there, too.
So what is Rian Johnson going to do with this big sand box? What's interesting is that he doesn't really know yet, as the full story hasn't been laid out. There is no sub-genre announced, though he does admit to bringing in some humor. While many believe Solo is the most challenged of the movies to come out under the Disney umbrella, it will be interesting to see how Lucasfilm moves forward without any of the things we intrinsically know to be Star Wars. In creating this new trilogy, Johnson offers these insightful new details into the fact that there really doesn't seem to be much of a plan laid out just yet.
"We're just at the very beginning of figuring out what this new thing is going to be, but part of the excitement of it is really trying to hone in on 'what is Star Wars?' What was Star Wars for me the very first time I saw it when I was a little kid? What are the combination of elements that just made me want to jump into the screen, and made me want to go home and instantly start telling my own stories?"
What is that, indeed? Most Star Wars fans would answer the characters, ships and aliens that make up this world coupled with a compelling space opera about a family we've come to know and love over the course of 9 movies. There have been a lot of Star Wars rip-offs over the years, and none of them ever got it right. And if done wrong, this could definitely just feel like Battle Beyond the Stars. It's a guy without a plan forced to create something out of nothing instead of pulling from a true creative place. That usually renders very mixed results.
Lucasfilm is currently developing two separate trilogies that only loosely tie into existing canon, neither will feature any character we've seen or known before. And they are both set in completely different corners of the Star Wars universe, so there is a lot of room to succeed or fail. Game of Thrones TV series creators and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are responsible for the other three films. And thus far, we've heard them say little to nothing at all about what their grand scheme is. Rian Johnson went onto say this about the challenge facing him as a filmmaker.
"Once you get past the things that are the iconography of Star Wars, once you say, okay, if it doesn't have the Falcon; if it doesn't have someone with Skywalker as their last name; if we don't go to Tatooine, what is it? What is it at its essence? It's a really exciting question, and I think it's something that has to be answered at some point. So let's figure it out."
Does it really need to be answered, though? Star Wars fans like their already in-place Star Wars elements best in these newer films, and many simply balk at the main cast of new characters calling them straight up terrible. Fans like the familiar. And it was the unfamiliar that had so many turning on The Last Jedi. That's where the standalone movies come into play. They actually tie into existing Star Wars lore. The verdict is still out on Solo, but a lot of fans truly believe that Rogue One is the best Disney Star Wars movie so far. Mark Hamill offers this as to why that may be the case.
"I think the potential for all the new incarnations is they can have their own identity. You can have Rogue One be that gritty war movie, and Han Solo he's a rogue, and a womanizer, and a gambler, there's a much more comedic feel to [his film]. That's what I'm hoping, especially since they're standalone films, they don't have to follow the structure of a three-act play, they can be as diverse as possible within the Star Wars universe. That's the challenge. You want to have all the elements that identify them as Star Wars films, with the action and the special effects and the characters and the humor, I hope they don't lose the humor, although Rogue One was obviously pretty serious. But have the things that people want in a Star Wars film, but then push the envelope as best you can and make as many different kinds of movies as you can."
So, Rian Johnson's intrinsic problem is losing all the stuff that makes Star Wars feel like Star Wars, which is essentially the characters and their story. So he's going to have to come up with some quite compelling leads. And they cant just be carbon copies of the Jedi, the Princess and the Rogue. It's going to be quite interesting to watch as he tries and pulls this rabbit out of his hat. Knowing him, it will be an elephant out of a suitcase. These quotes were pulled from IGN via Geek Tyrant.